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Making Friends on the Road – My Favourite Part About Travel

 

When traveling you get to go to exciting destinations, see amazing sights, eat some great food and have an experience of a life time. However what can be some of the most rewarding times while traveling is the people you meet along the way. What can be more exciting that meeting and making friends from a country and culture that is completely different from yours? Travel, especially if you are traveling alone, pushes you out of your comfort zone and you end up making some awesome connections and memories.

I have traveled both solo and with other people. Both can be very rewarding. When traveling solo you tend to meet a lot more people than if you’re traveling with a group or another person. When traveling solo you tend to seek out companionship from others a lot more. However when traveling with other people you end up creating memories with those people for the rest of your life. Also if you have friends and family in another country it can be fun to go visit them and make memories with them too. So I will share some of my most memorable moments of traveling with others.

Traveling With Your Best Friend

My friend Colleen and I have shared some great travel experiences together. We went backpacking together in Australia when we were 19 and 20 years old. This was hers and my first experience abroad and we chose to go to Australia. We discovered a lot about each other on our trip. She enjoyed more of the touristy sights where I tended to enjoy more of the hiking and outdoor aspects of Australia. Back then I remember dragging her on a lot of hikes when she’s was looking to relax more. I was a different person then and I know she saw my grumpy side a lot. Ups, downs, happy and grumpy moments aside, we created memories that we will never forget. A few years later we took a trip to Victoria, BC together. We spent 3 days exploring the city, enjoying each other’s company and making memories we’d never forget. Yes traveling with your bestie can be a fun and rewarding experience!

 

On the ferry

Colleen and I on the Ferry Headed to Victoria on Vancouver Island.

 

Staying With Friends and Family in the Places You are Visiting

Another great way to create memories with people while traveling is to go visit a friend or family member who lives in the place you are traveling too. This was the case when I went to England back in Spring 2010. I went solo but met up and stayed with a friend in Brighton. Also I stayed with my family in the Lake District. I remember after I got off the plane in London I took the train to Brighton and a very jet lagged me met my friend Vicky at her university. I met Vicky while being on staff together at a youth and children’s summer camp on Vancouver Island. We both clicked. So she was keen to have me some stay with her and her roommates at her flat for a few nights.

I have great memories of walking the Brighton peer, drinking tea, eating cake and hanging out with Vicky’s friends in the park. I was so amazed by Brighton and my first time being in England. Vicky said I helped her see the city through fresh eyes as she’s lived there a while.  I had an embarassing but really funny moment when I referred to the portable outdoor park bathroom as “The Johnny.” Apparently “johnny” is a British slang for a condom. They were laughing at me as I said to them “I need to use the Johnny over there.” Crazy how different words can mean different things even among English speaking people. Yes having friends and connections in cities you want to visit is a plus and makes for great memories.

 

Me and Vicky

Vicky and Me Standing on the Peer in Brighton England

 

Meeting People As You Travel

I’m a big fan of meeting people as you go. Some of my most memorable travel moments have been meeting people spontaneously. I like to call them random encounters. Sometime you have such a connection with someone you feel as if you’ve known them your whole life! You feel like you can laugh, share your adventurous self and in some cases connect with these people on a deep level. I have had many a moments where I’ve met people on the beach, in hostels, while out exploring or been introduced by a mutual friend. Travel opens up the door for these awesome connections. I feel this is one of the main reasons I love travel!

One of my favourite moments with this was when I was staying on the Isle of Wight (an island off the southern coast of England). I had found a lady online that was renting out a room in her place. She was a super kind and down to earth person. She introduced me to a French guy named Anthony. Anthony had come to England from France to learn English. Anthony and I had a blast exploring the Isle of Wight together. And you know what he hardly spoke any English and my French was minimal! We managed to communicate with basic words, gestures and Anthony had a pocket translator with him. While exploring the Island we ran into a group of Polish travellers. We all decided to go out to a pub together. We had fun laughing, joking and telling stories. Though we were together just for a day on the Isle of Wight its a moment in time I’ll never forget. Solo travel can lead to many of these moments.

 

Me, Anthony and the Polish Crew.

Me with Anthony (he’s to the right of me) and the polish crew.

 

Traveling With A Group

Another way to make friends while traveling is to book a tour or go on a volunteer trip. During summer 2014 I went to China with a group to volunteer with children in an orphanage. I got to go with a group and most of them were from my home city. It was my first time going to a country where not much English was spoken. I was able to connect with the group from Vancouver before hand. We booked our flight together and traveled together for the first 2 weeks of my time in China. If you are nervous about traveling alone or to a country where English isn’t spoken, then booking a tour or going on a volunteer trip is an excellent idea.

I’ll admit deep down I was a bit nervous about traveling to China. However getting to be with a group for the first 2 weeks gave me the confidence to travel around Beijing on my own for the 3rd week. Volunteering as part of a team can be a great way to make friends, do something meaningful and experience a country in a profound way.

 

The Terra Cotta Warriors

Me with the some of my team members I volunteered with in China.

So these moments are only the tip of the iceberg. I plan to have many more adventures with people while I travel. I’m only just getting started! What are some of your best moments with people while traveling? Do you like traveling with your best friend, solo, with a group or a combination of all 3 the best? Let me know your thoughts.

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